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Thread: A what if or When if question

  1. #11
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco View Post
    Who said anything about regime change in Iran? Any change in the leadership of Iran would have to come from its people.

    I don't expect the Israelis to wait around on us or the rest of the world in securing their survival. In case you missed it, Akmadinajoke has stated seveal times that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. A threat the Israeli won't take lightly.
    What makes you think there will be anything limited about a war between Israel and Iran? As I noted before, I believe the outcome will be devastating for the US and Israel regardless of how such a war starts. From the perspective of the Iranian government, I suspect that there are few things that would serve it better than an Israeli strike against their nuclear facilities. By contrast, I do not think their government would survive a war that they initiated themselves.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Uncle Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    What makes you think there will be anything limited about a war between Israel and Iran? As I noted before, I believe the outcome will be devastating for the US and Israel regardless of how such a war starts. From the perspective of the Iranian government, I suspect that there are few things that would serve it better than an Israeli strike against their nuclear facilities. By contrast, I do not think their government would survive a war that they initiated themselves.
    And you expect them to procrastinate forever? Waiting has certainly accomplished a lot so far eh?

    The "war" with the muslim world started long time ago. It's just recently they've had the onions to become more offensive, and the day of reckoning is looming. The time for the linguini-spined vacillators to stand aside. Your approach to solving the problem is no longer valid.

    The time for "meaningful" sanctions, like cutting off their supply of imported gasoline totally. A complete blockade that seriously stops all economy. And a lock on all their financial activities outside their borders.

    If the non-muslim world can't see the dangers this murderous regime poses, and supports a complete close down of that nations activities, then a physical war will be inevitible.

    UB
    When the one you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Bolded text is mine...

    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    What makes anyone think that "regime change" in Iran can be accomplished any more easily than regime change in Iraq? Who on this board or in American politics/military have suggested that regime change would be the goal of a military strike on Iran? Nobody that I'm aware of. I do not think that there is any strategy, short of war, that can succeed in creating significant political change in Iran without willing participation of the Chinese and Russians.

    I also suspect that a war -- whether initiated by Israel or the US -- will backfire completely. It will destroy the Iranian opposition, unite the Iranian public against us, isolate us further from Russia (not too serious) and China (which will cut off credit), possibly result in the destruction of Israel, and complete the bankruptcy of our economy. I see very little chance of any positive outcome from such a war in the short or long term. Iran has supposedly been on the verge of revolution for years now. If Israel is betting their existence on the overthrow of a brutal and repressive regime by a bunch of students honking their horns and blowing whistles in a few of the largest cities I think that's probably not a wise wager. As for the premise that you and DNF promote that China will retaliate economically....sure they'll stamp their feet and take a few minor symbolic swipes at us, but the notion that they'd do anything to cripple our economy is absurd. For better or worse, we're tied at the hip in a two-way relationship, and they need us as much as we need them.

    In considering strategies, the last thing we need is decision-making based on a desire to prove our manhood. Huh? Yes, I know the liberal conventional wisdom is that Bush invaded Iraq out of some Freudian desire to win the approval of his father or some such nonsense, but that psychobabble doesn't apply to every geopolitical conflict. We know you approved of our own civil war ('cause slaves are bad), and we know you would approve attacking a sessionist Texas ('cause state rights are bad), but attacking Iran to prevent them from obtaining the capacity to carry out their stated objective...the destruction of Israel, gets boiled down to some petty playground disagreement? Rather, we need a strategy based on patience, persistence, and a recognition that a nuclear Iran would still probably leave Iran as the third most dangerous nuclear country in the world behind both Pakistan (the most dangerous) and North Korea (a distant second). Key elements of a strategy need to include: We've exhibited a remarkable 30 years of "patience" (a compelling argument could be made for "appeasement") and we're no closer to bringing Iran into the fold of rational and civilized government than we were in 1980.
    • Improving the relationship between Israel and its immediate neighbors, including Palestinians. That will not happen without significant pressure on Israel to give up its colonial role. It cannot survive as a country if it insists on occupying lands, and even settling lands, where it is not prepared to give rights of citizenship to the resident Palestinian population. As always, it Israel's fault.
    • Increase connections between the Iranian people and the rest of the world. Iran, despite its government, has one of the more educated populations in the region and its people are much more open to western culture than its government. The more the country is isolated, the stronger the government will be. Extremism thrives in isolation. I'm sure all Obama has to do is ask the mullahs to open up their country and it will happen. Too bad our four previous presidents were so dumb and didn't know that was possible.
    • Maintain and expand discrete support for the Iranian political opposition. Support that is too overt can back fire. Agreed.
    • Work to reduce Russia's dependency on Iran. Russia is a potent ally for Iran and desperately needs Iranian oil. It is also uniquely positioned to further Iran's nuclear program without regard to our opposition. Per 2008 numbers, Russian isn't even one of the top 10 importers of Iranian oil. Most Iranian oil goes to Asia.
    • Continue working with China to ensure that it understands that it will lose in the event of a confrontation between Iran and the US.
    • Accelerate our own move toward development of non-oil based energy sources. Anything that reduces our economic dependency on imported oil reduces Iran's ability to disrupt our economy. We import no oil from Iran. Sure, it's a commodity and our prices would be affected by the overall supply, but we wouldn't be impacted nearly as much as Japan or China. The threat from Iran is near-immediate. Does Israel have a few decades to wait for non oil-based energy sources?
    Progress in dealing with Iran will take years. A war-based strategy of confrontation will not make the process faster, but it will make the outcome more uncertain. I don't know that Israel has years to wait. And Israel is only in danger more than us due to their proximity. How long before Iran starts to threaten the United States in the same way?
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  4. #14
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Bolded text is mine...

    Who on this board or in American politics/military have suggested that regime change would be the goal of a military strike on Iran? Nobody that I'm aware of.
    What you have not done is to put forward any military strategy that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear capability as part of a "contained" campaign with a good chance of success. Were I Iran and you were the one directing a "surgical" strike, I would immediately respond in the most devastating way I could. That would include a strike on D=Saudi and Iraqi oil fields, which are well within reach of my current weapons, as well as a strike on the civilian populations of Israel. BTW, I agree that China, in many ways, is less likely to threaen our economy than other countries because of our co-dependent relationship. However, I believe that they are much better positioned in both the short and long term to withstand damage to our economy than we are. I also believe that they assume that the future relationship between our countries is one that they will dominate, and that thet are prepared to begin to assert that dominance more often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Iran has supposedly been on the verge of revolution for years now. If Israel is betting their existence on the overthrow of a brutal and repressive regime by a bunch of students honking their horns and blowing whistles in a few of the largest cities I think that's probably not a wise wager. As for the premise that you and DNF promote that China will retaliate economically....sure they'll stamp their feet and take a few minor symbolic swipes at us, but the notion that they'd do anything to cripple our economy is absurd. For better or worse, we're tied at the hip in a two-way relationship, and they need us as much as we need them.
    Iran has been "on the verge" of attacking Israel for 30 years and done nothing to back up its threats. As I understand the intelligence reports, Iran remains years away from developing an offensive nuclear capacity that represents a significantly greater threat than exists based on their non-nuclear capabilities. The reality is that any nation in the world with an educated scientific community and the will is in a position to develop nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and the list will grow. If I am an Islamic country and believe the words of the right wing fanatics who say we are already at war with all of Islam, then I am a fool if I do not launch an immediate effort to develop nuclear capability to defend myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    In considering strategies, the last thing we need is decision-making based on a desire to prove our manhood. Huh? Yes, I know the liberal conventional wisdom is that Bush invaded Iraq out of some Freudian desire to win the approval of his father or some such nonsense, but that psychobabble doesn't apply to every geopolitical conflict. We know you approved of our own civil war ('cause slaves are bad), and we know you would approve attacking a sessionist Texas ('cause state rights are bad), but attacking Iran to prevent them from obtaining the capacity to carry out their stated objective...the destruction of Israel, gets boiled down to some petty playground disagreement?
    I actually believe that the entire neo-con strategy of deterring asymetric warfare by making an example of Iraq was an exercise in testosterone induced idiocy. The war was manufactured to make a point. In fact, it proved the opposite. It proved that our military might has limits that are much more finite than Cheney, Wolfowitz, et al, sought to demonstrate. In discussing the potential war with Iraq before a house committee in February 2003, Wolfowitz said that Iraq "presents a case of direct threat to the security of the United States and our allies. Indeed, I believe the most significant cost associated with Iraq is the cost of doing nothing. The simple truth is, disarming Iraq and fighting the war on terror are not merely related; disarming Iraq's arsenal of terror is a crucial part of winning the war on terror. If we can disarm or defeat Saddam's brutal regime in Baghdad, it will be a defeat for terrorists globally. The value of such a victory against a terrorist regime will be of incalculable value in the continuing war on terrorism," All this, by the way, was part of his explanation for not including any funds for the impending war in the budget...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    We've exhibited a remarkable 30 years of "patience" (a compelling argument could be made for "appeasement") and we're no closer to bringing Iran into the fold of rational and civilized government than we were in 1980.
    Interesting perspective. What about the 24 years of "patience" shown by the Iranian people living under the brutal regime of a Shah put into power by the US after a US engineered overthrow of Iran's democratically elected government? The fact is that Iran has its own government just as we have ours. It is theirs to determine. Since the end of the hostage crisis, they have not acted militarily against the US or Israel. They did act against Iraq and its dictator. Saddam Hussein. whom we were supporting. There's a pretty good argument that we were on the wrong side of that particular war. But, of course, our real strategy was simply to prevent either side from winning and establishing a dominant regional position. Had Iraq been on the verge of destroying Iran, I suspect we would have intervened on their behalf instead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    • Improving the relationship between Israel and its immediate neighbors, including Palestinians. That will not happen without significant pressure on Israel to give up its colonial role. It cannot survive as a country if it insists on occupying lands, and even settling lands, where it is not prepared to give rights of citizenship to the resident Palestinian population. As always, it Israel's fault. It was Israel's choice to hold and colonize territories in which it was not willing to extend democratic rights. I actually would have had no problems if Israel had elected to annex some or all of the conquered territories. But for a democratic country, annexation means granting citizenship to the resident population. By holding the territories for decades, allowing "settlers" to build communities in the territories (often by displacing residents forcibly), and denying citizenship to the resident populations, Israel gave up its status as a democratic country. That is a conclusion I reached as a zionist who was present as Syrians shelled the kibbutz where I was located. I believe that it faces the same choice today that it faced in 1967 and 1973: return the territories (including any land confiscated from residents of the conquered lands unless compensated at full value) or give full citizenship to the residents.
    • Increase connections between the Iranian people and the rest of the world. Iran, despite its government, has one of the more educated populations in the region and its people are much more open to western culture than its government. The more the country is isolated, the stronger the government will be. Extremism thrives in isolation. I'm sure all Obama has to do is ask the mullahs to open up their country and it will happen. Too bad our four previous presidents were so dumb and didn't know that was possible. I believe that we have been trying to do this much of the time and that the use of Twitter during political battles inside Iran is testimony to this fact. However, these efforts can be easily destroyed by sanctions that are mis-directed and I believe that would nt be in our long term interests.
    • Maintain and expand discrete support for the Iranian political opposition. Support that is too overt can back fire. Agreed.
    • Work to reduce Russia's dependency on Iran. Russia is a potent ally for Iran and desperately needs Iranian oil. It is also uniquely positioned to further Iran's nuclear program without regard to our opposition. Per 2008 numbers, Russian isn't even one of the top 10 importers of Iranian oil. Most Iranian oil goes to Asia. Actually, the relationship is a little more complex. Russia is one of the largest exporters of oil in the world. It views its relationship with Iran as one that givs it leverage to develop a consortium for oil exchanges outside of western control. That would greatly enhance Russia's power as an energy tsar.
    • Continue working with China to ensure that it understands that it will lose in the event of a confrontation between Iran and the US.
    • Accelerate our own move toward development of non-oil based energy sources. Anything that reduces our economic dependency on imported oil reduces Iran's ability to disrupt our economy. We import no oil from Iran. Sure, it's a commodity and our prices would be affected by the overall supply, but we wouldn't be impacted nearly as much as Japan or China. The threat from Iran is near-immediate. Does Israel have a few decades to wait for non oil-based energy sources?
    Progress in dealing with Iran will take years. A war-based strategy of confrontation will not make the process faster, but it will make the outcome more uncertain. I don't know that Israel has years to wait. And Israel is only in danger more than us due to their proximity. How long before Iran starts to threaten the United States in the same way?
    The "immediacy" of the threat eludes me now, just as it dd when Wolfowitz and Cheney were promoting war with Iraq. They proved wrong then. I have no reason to believe that the hysterics are smarter today.
    Last edited by YardleyLabs; 02-15-2010 at 06:45 AM.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    What you have not done is to put forward any military strategy that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear capability as part of a "contained" campaign with a good chance of success. Were I Iran and you were the one directing a "surgical" strike, I would immediately respond in the most devastating way I could. That would include a strike on D=Saudi and Iraqi oil fields, which are well within reach of my current weapons, as well as a strike on the civilian populations of Israel. Were you an Iranian you'd better be prepared to meet your maker, as an Iranian escalation of that magnitude will certainly invite what most of the world wouldn't shed one tear about...the dismantling of Iran's military, infrastructure and command and control. It's awful hard to rule your people with an iron thumb beneath a few tons of concrete rubble or a hundred feet down inside a hole with your fingers in your ears. If Iran were crazy enough to respond like you described then they are crazy enough to have used a nuke on Israel in the first place...thus justifiying any attack on their nuke production. BTW, I agree that China, in many ways, is less likely to threaen our economy than other countries because of our co-dependent relationship. However, I believe that they are much better positioned in both the short and long term to withstand damage to our economy than we are. I also believe that they assume that the future relationship between our countries is one that they will dominate I agree with that, and that thet are prepared to begin to assert that dominance more often.

    Iran has been "on the verge" of attacking Israel for 30 years and done nothing to back up its threats. Except for having their fingerprints on the death of 250 Marines in Lebanon, the bombing of a US embassy, the approvers, masterminds and armorers of the Khobar Tower bombers, funding terrorists in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, etc.... As I understand the intelligence reports, Iran remains years away from developing an offensive nuclear capacity that represents a significantly greater threat than exists based on their non-nuclear capabilities. The reality is that any nation in the world with an educated scientific community and the will is in a position to develop nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and the list will grow. If I am an Islamic country and believe the words of the right wing fanatics who say we are already at war with all of Islam, then I am a fool if I do not launch an immediate effort to develop nuclear capability to defend myself. Ah, so you think other countries are going to be scared away from nukes because we twiddled our thumbs and did nothing as Iran told us to piss off time and again? That's an interesting take.

    Iranians are Persians; not Arabs. Arabs generally do not like Persians and Persians generally do not like Arabs. I assure that the muslim governments in the Middle East are a helluva lot more scared of a nuclear Iran than a nuclear United States. If they persue nukes it will be to deter Iran from attacking them; not the US.

    I actually believe that the entire neo-con strategy of deterring asymetric warfare by making an example of Iraq was an exercise in testosterone induced idiocy. The war was manufactured to make a point. In fact, it proved the opposite. It proved that our military might has limits that are much more finite than Cheney, Wolfowitz, et al, sought to demonstrate. In discussing the potential war with Iraq before a house committee in February 2003, Wolfowitz said that Iraq "presents a case of direct threat to the security of the United States and our allies. Indeed, I believe the most significant cost associated with Iraq is the cost of doing nothing. The simple truth is, disarming Iraq and fighting the war on terror are not merely related; disarming Iraq's arsenal of terror is a crucial part of winning the war on terror. If we can disarm or defeat Saddam's brutal regime in Baghdad, it will be a defeat for terrorists globally. The value of such a victory against a terrorist regime will be of incalculable value in the continuing war on terrorism," All this, by the way, was part of his explanation for not including any funds for the impending war in the budget...


    Interesting perspective. What about the 24 years of "patience" shown by the Iranian people living under the brutal regime of a Shah put into power by the US after a US engineered overthrow of Iran's democratically elected government? The fact is that Iran has its own government just as we have ours. It is theirs to determine. Since the end of the hostage crisis, they have not acted militarily against the US or Israel. That's semantical hogwash. They funded, trained and supplied people who did (see my above comment for a partial list of their belligerence). They did act against Iraq and its dictator. Saddam Hussein. whom we were supporting. There's a pretty good argument that we were on the wrong side of that particular war. I don't think you'd want to take a vote of the Arab nations. You'd lose. But, of course, our real strategy was simply to prevent either side from winning and establishing a dominant regional position. Had Iraq been on the verge of destroying Iran, I suspect we would have intervened on their behalf instead. That may be right.
    The "immediacy" of the threat eludes me now, just as it dd when Wolfowitz and Cheney were promoting war with Iraq. They proved wrong then. I have no reason to believe that the hysterics are smarter today.
    Let's pretend, for argument's sake, that Iran is exactly one month away from having an operational nuke and the capacity to deliver it to Israel. What do you do as POTUS?
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  6. #16
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Let's pretend, for argument's sake, that Iran is exactly one month away from having an operational nuke and the capacity to deliver it to Israel. What do you do as POTUS?
    First, they are not anywhere near that stage. Second, I would take the posture we took vis a vis the Russians -- assured destruction on launch.

    Wolfowitz and the neo-cons proposed a policy of action based on capability to threaten rather than based on actual threat. That was the fundamental justification for the invasion of Iraq. However, it actually represents a policy of action based on prejudice since there are many countries that threaten us more, based on the combination of capability and hostility, than Iran. And, as I noted before, if I were Iran, my target would be the Saudi and Iraqi oil fields long before I worried about Israel. However, I do not think there is a serious first strike threat from Iran. The government does not have that level of control over the country. I do believe that it would act forcefully against Saudi Arabia and Israel in response to an attack and doubt our ability to prevent such attacks from being effective. It is also possible that they would follow our own logic of preemptive strikes in the event that the threat of Israeli or American action appeared imminent.

    From the government's perspective, such actions would not involve significantly more risk than waiting around to be buried under the rubble as you suggest. Saddam Hussein fundamentally believed that the US would not attack. He destroyed his WMD reserves, but never publicized that fact because of his fear that it would encourage dissident forces within the country. Iran knows that our ability to act against it is finite, but too great to risk a first strike. But if we are going to strike first anyway, there is no reason at all for them to hold back. Even if we prevail, the cost will dwarf the cost of the Iraq war and neither our bankers nor our taxpayers will support the effort.

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Jeff,
    One problem with that is that the strategy of 'mutual assured destruction' assumes that the understanding is binding between two rational entities. That may be a far stretch with Iran, especially, as you pointed out, the gov't does NOT have a firm level of control over the country, or more correctly, the country does not have control over its government! The threat of destruction does not jive with self-perceived martyrdom of one of the players.

    Perhaps the old trick of finding Iran's top nuclear scientists and engineers, and making them offers "they can't refuse" would work. Just defuse their program with a systemic brain drain.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    One problem with that is that the strategy of 'mutual assured destruction' assumes that the understanding is binding between two rational entities.
    Perfectly said.

    The other part of the equation that messes up the MAD rationale is that the country being attacked has the capacity to respond in-kind and also destroy the attacker (or have a proxy do it for them). Israel's got some nukes for sure, but they're not on subs, in bombers around-the-clock, or sitting atop ballistic missles. In the event of an Iranian first strike, Israel likely wouldn't have the time necessary to mount more than a nominal nuke response (if at all). That means that the United States must be the guarantors of a nuke response to Iran. Does anyone really believe Obama would pull that trigger? I don't think for one minute he would. And even if he did, it would be a half-measure, token response..."Well, Iran delivered three nukes to Israel, we must respond with three."
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  9. #19
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Perfectly said.

    The other part of the equation that messes up the MAD rationale is that the country being attacked has the capacity to respond in-kind and also destroy the attacker (or have a proxy do it for them). Israel's got some nukes for sure, but they're not on subs, in bombers around-the-clock, or sitting atop ballistic missles. In the event of an Iranian first strike, Israel likely wouldn't have the time necessary to mount more than a nominal nuke response (if at all). That means that the United States must be the guarantors of a nuke response to Iran. Does anyone really believe Obama would pull that trigger? I don't think for one minute he would. And even if he did, it would be a half-measure, token response..."Well, Iran delivered three nukes to Israel, we must respond with three."
    Such an interesting world, mixing delusions of grandeur with paranoia.

    First, to quote W. Andrew Terrill of the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, "Iran, despite the zealotry and bombast of some of its leaders, has shown a consistent ability to conduct rational, national interest-based defense and foreign policies that would avoid deliberately provoking a nuclear war against their country." (See http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute...les/PUB854.pdf)

    Second, the ability of Iran to launch an attack on Israel that would be sufficient to prevent nuclear retaliation by Israel at a level sufficient to destroy Iran depends on four things:
    • Development of a multiple, viable nuclear warheads by Iran. This is years away.
    • Multiple solid fuel missiles with the range needed. It is possible that Iran now has at least some of these based on its joint development projects with China and North Korea
    • Guidance systems and intelligence to be able to locate and destroy Israeli missile silos. It's not clear that Iran has either.
    • The ability to penetrate Israel's anti-missile defense system quickly enough to prevent response. This doesn't even appear to be close.
    Israel does not actually require any support from the US to destroy Iran in the event of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel. Obviously, however, Israel would also be destroyed in the process. That brings up a further deterrent to an Iranian nuclear attack. Such an attack would inevitably destroy Jerusalem -- one of the most holy cities of Islam -- and the majority of the West Bank Palestinian population.

    I believe that diplomatic and military strategies can delay Iran's development of a nuclear capability, but cannot prevent it. We should maintain those efforts, but ultimately we will be dealing with a nuclear Iran unless there is a fundamental change in its political make-up. That change will not happen through war.

    I'm still waiting to hear the military strategy that you believe would allow us to neutralize Iran (without losing Israel, Saudi oil, and possibly Iraqi oil in the process) and also your suggestions of how we will pay for that war and for the consequences of that war. Bombast makes for great theater, but poor military judgment. Let us not once again make the naive assumption that if we act, the Iranian people will miraculously overthrow their government and welcome us with flowers in hand.

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    Senior Member zeus3925's Avatar
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    What does Iran have to fear from the US? We are in the process of destroying ourselves in so many ways:

    • We are bleeding the country white by funding two major wars simultaneously, while giving the Fortunate Few big tax cuts.

    • We have effectively transferred our jobs and manufacturing to China-- killing our economic base in the process.

    • We have failed to develop a sane energy policy in every administration since the 1973 Arab boycott. We still are hemorrhaging national treasure at an alarming rate to run our gas guzzlers.

    • Our banking system nearly destroyed the country with financial fictions aided and abetted by the government's failure to provide oversight--all in the name of smaller government.

    • The country is seeing the rise of the Tea Baggers and other assorted coyotes that are openly preaching secession, insurrection, and civil war.

    • The Congress has been reduced to band of bickering four year olds, that is way too busy calling names than being interested in working for the good of the Republic.


    If I were Ahmadinejad, I'd not fear.
    Last edited by zeus3925; 02-16-2010 at 08:39 AM.
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